Tom & Dick Rebel on Rumored DVD Release, with 'Last Goes First' Plan
Industry informants say Time Life will release DVDs of the
controversial show later this summer
Posted by David Lambert
Here's a scoop that some of you are going to have an absolute heart
attack over! We have learned, through anonymous industry sources,
that the folks at Time Life are working on another huge release this
year. In 2006 they put together the award-winning Get Smart - The
Complete Series, from the original 1965 show. Last year they followed
up with the equally brilliant package for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. -
The Complete Series. Last week we exclusively reported that they are
working on a Fall 2008 release of The Real Ghostbusters - The
Complete Series (including "Slimer and The Real Ghostbusters"
episodes). Now we've learned that they are also working on upcoming
releases of the controversial series The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on DVD!
However, this won't be a "complete series" set. This confused both
Gord and myself, as neither of us have much experience watching the
show. Digging a bit into the show's history explains to us pretty
nicely, though, the likely reasons as to why the first release will
be The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour - The Best of Season 3.
The show has been widely recognized as more than merely
controversial...it was iconoclastic: rebellious and non-conforming.
They gave the network, CBS, fits during their run from Feb. 1967
(starting as a mid-season replacement) to April 1969, when CBS
president William S. Paley canceled the show just weeks after it had
officially been renewed for a 4th season. He cited that the show had
violated rules given to them about delivering the episodes to network
censors (for editing to be conducted) 10 days prior to the air date.
This rule was instated for the show due to the network's concerns
over content targeting the Vietnam War, the US Government (and
specifically President Lyndon B. Johnson), and other hot topics of the time.
As an example, the network famously deleted a piece with guest Harry
Belafonte doing a "Mardi Gras" song while superimposed over scenes
taken from the riots that broke out at the Democratic National
Convention in Chicago in 1968. Another well-documented point of
censorship included Joan Baez speaking on the show about her husband,
who was going to jail at that time for violating the military draft.
Since the show's never been one to conform to tradition, we're told
that the folks at Time Life decided to stick with that non-conformity
and put out the best scenes from the final, and most controversial
season, as the first DVD release. All material is rumored to be
hand-picked by Tom & Dick themselves, but we haven't had confirmation
on that. We're not certain either as to when it's going to be
available, but our sources say "this Summer" (that *might* be when it
will first be available to pre-order, though).
How big will it be? This is early info and subject to change, but
we're told to expect a 4- or 5-disc set, with tons of extras
including censored scenes that never aired on CBS, plus the special
segment "Pat Paulsen for President," which was narrated by Henry
Fonda. Paulsen, who won an Emmy in 1968 for his work, was a regular
performer on the show.
That's all the info we have so far, and we should classify this
officially as "rumor" until we get the confirmed announcement from
Time Life themselves. But stay tuned and we'll keep you updated as
more info comes in!